Dating silver hallmarks sheffield
It has always been difficult to determine the purity of silver in an object by visual means and many countries have tried to establish a system of ensuring that certain standards are kept to protect customers who buy silver objects.
In Britain our system developed about six hundred years ago, when laws were passed to fix the purity of silver in manufactured silver articles to be at least 925 parts of silver in every thousand parts.
Before the advent of mass transport and efficient communications there were many assay offices dotted around Britain to enable silversmiths to hallmark their goods.
Even some relatively small towns had offices such as Plymouth, Colchester, Lincoln, Shrewsbury, Preston, Hull, Carlisle, Aberdeen, Dundee, Inverness, Perth, Cork, and Limerick.
This silverware again is quite collectible and starting to command a slight premium.
Each town or area obviously had a number of registered silversmiths and they all had their individual marks, which they sometimes changed to reflect changes in their business lives.
Certain makers are again very collectible and command very high prices.
If you want to learn more about silver styles & designs then click here.
he British system of Hallmarking and the unbroken continuity of marks over the centuries is unique and a source of great fascination for many people.
In England the main marks were for London, Birmingham, Sheffield, Chester, Exeter, York, Newcastle and Norwich.
The main marks in Scotland were for Edinburgh and Glasgow. This is by no means an exhaustive list and we recommend the book Jackson's Silver & Gold Marks (ISBN # 0907462634) for a more detailed analysis.
If you want to learn more about famous British silversmiths then click here (an ongoing project).